The criteria used to identify Health Professional Shortage Areas dates back to the 1970’s and very little has changed since then. This study examined driving distance from patient address to provider address as one component of a geographical HPSA. Primary care-related services located in adjacent areas to whole-county HPSAs are considered excessively distant when travel time exceeds 30 minutes or the equivalent of 20 miles in this study. We found similarities in travel distance to primary care-related services from patients living in HPSA counties compared to those living in non-HPSA counties. This could indicate the need to re-examine HPSA definitions to more accurately identify truly underserved populations in rural areas.
Cashion M, Jilcott-Pitts S, Cummings D, Duffrin C, Jones J, Wu Q. Access to Primary Care: Comparing driving distance from Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) counties versus non-HPSA counties. Front Public Health Serv Syst Res